Bantay Dagat seizes ‘hot’ fish worth P120T

AUTHORITIES confiscated more than P120,000 worth of blasted fish from a passenger motorbanca in an operation in Pasil Fish Market yesterday afternoon. The seizure of the illegally-acquired fish came after an informant tipped Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) 7 Director Andres Bojos. Bojos immediately coordinated with the Cebu City Bantay Dagat Commission (CCBDC) to search for the boxes of fish loaded in a sea vessel that came from the island of Nocnocan, Bohol. At 12:30 p.m. yesterday, a team from CCBDC found three boxes of fish that weighed 180 kilos from “Ken-Jay” motorbanca. The enforcers, however, failed to arrest anyone because nobody showed up to claimed ownership of the confiscated fish, PO3 Temestocles Ambus, said. He said the vessel operator and passengers were uncooperative with the CCBDC. “Apprehending the owners of these fish have always been difficult to do,” Ambus said, adding they are deemed abandoned. The market price of each box was pegged at P40,000. The total value of the seized fish was P120,000. Samples of the seized fish were examined by Dioscoro Avenido, chief of BFAR 7’s monitoring, control and surveillance unit, shortly after the confiscation. He found out that an explosive or dynamite was used in catching the fish. Dynamite fishing is prohibited under Section 12 of Republic Act 4003, or the Fisheries Act of the Philippines. “Although it’s safe to eat, the use of dynamite damages our coral reefs and other fishes,” Avenido said. Even if only one fish was dynamited, technically, everything inside the box are considered blasted, he added. The authorities believed the goods were supposed to be delivered and sold in the market in the city. The CCBDC plans to donate the confiscated fish to six charitable institutions in Cebu City. However, the fish that would be sent for charity were only those without remnants of explosives. Last month, CCBDC also seized 810 kilos of sardines, or worth P45,000 in their operation. Most of the fish seized from Cebu City markets were believed to have come from Zamboanga and Dumaguete City from the south and Masbate from the north. Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on November 06, 2011.